Most of Afghanistan is currently experiencing a 60 percent drop in the rain and snowfall needed for food production. The rapid expansion of Kabul’s population, extreme drought conditions across the country, and the specter of climate change have exacerbated the need for new water infrastructure. But building it is politically complicated; the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region is defined by its complex maze of transboundary rivers and there is no legal framework in place to avoid major conflict between the nations.

It’s no surprise, then, that in the Chahar Asiab district of Kabul, on a tributary of the Kabul River, the Maidan, work is scheduled to begin soon on the Shahtoot Dam. The dam will hold 146 million cubic meters of potable water for 2 million Kabul residents and irrigate 4,000 hectares of land. It will also provide drinking water for a new city on the outskirts of Kabul called Deh Sabz. Afghanistan is finally, after decades of devastating wars, in a position to begin to develop its economy and electricity from hydropower. Continue reading


The Indian Navy will soon commence operations of an international information fusion centre to collate and analyse data related to maritime security matters in the Indian Ocean, which would also be shared with friendly nations in the region. This was revealed by Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Tuesday during a press conference on the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), which is being held in Kochi.

IONS is a multilateral platform, consisting of navies across the Indian Ocean rim, that deliberates on issues of security and humanitarian need with the intention of facilitating cooperation. Continue reading


The sensitive pricing details of the 36 Rafale fighter jets, submitted by the centre in a sealed cover, is scheduled to be examined by the Supreme Court today. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph will hold a crucial hearing in the case during which the petitioners, who have sought a court-monitored investigation into the deal, will also make submissions.

The Centre had on Monday handed over a 14-page document titled “Details of the steps in the decision making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order” to the petitioners in the case. Continue reading


The headquarters of the Defence Research and Development Organisation has cautioned its scientists across all laboratories not to reveal their identity or designation on any social platform, not even on matrimonial sites or wedding cards.

An investigation by the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) in the arrest of Nishant Aggarwal, an engineer with BrahMos Aerospace revealed that he was contacted by the Pakistan Inter-Intelligence Service (ISI) through his LinkedIn profile (a network of professionals) and was enticed with a high paying job offer for which details of his work were required.

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The centre’s decision to hand over a document disclosing financial details of the Rafale aircraft deal to the Supreme Court came after discussions between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Attorney General KK Venugopal, sources said.

The document — provided to a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in a sealed cover — has the approval of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they added.The Supreme Court had ordered the centre to put its decision-making process in the public domain on November 2, amid allegations by opposition parties that Rafale manufacturer Dassault chose to partner with Anil Ambani’s debt-ridden defence company as a condition for bagging the contract. Continue reading


In December 1999, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh asked the ministry official in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, Vivek Katju, who was at Kandahar airport trying to negotiate with the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, if Singh could meet Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar.

Singh, who was in Delhi, asked Katju to talk to the Taliban regime’s foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil. Within minutes, Muttawakil said, “Yes, why not? I am going to make contact (with Mullah Omar).” Then the response came: “Sorry, you cannot, don’t fly to Kandahar.” “Muttwakil’s minders in the ISI must have upbraided him for even this little relenting,” Singh wrote in A Call to Honour: In Service of Emergent India, his account of the hijack that ended with him accompanying three “TADA detenues”, including Maulana Masood Azhar, to Kandahar. Continue reading


Creating artificial rains, Delhi’s quick fix solution to clear up its toxic air, is awaiting one final approval — clearance to the aircraft that will carry out cloud seeding.

Official communication asking for permission is in the process. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change received a request on Tuesday from Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) — a centre of Indian Space Research Organisation — to fly the aircraft to Delhi for cloud seeding. Continue reading


Security forces gunned down two militants in north Kashmir’s Kupwara area on Tuesday. With this, the toll has gone up to 200 this year.In its ongoing crackdown on terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, security forces have killed 200 Pakistan-bred terrorists and militants so far.While most of the slain terrorists/militants belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the highest number were gunned down in south Kashmir.

South Kashmir witnessed the killings of 109 militants and terrorists while in north Kashmir it was 45. Continue reading


A heavily-armed Pakistani intruder was shot dead today along the border in Akhnoor sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army said, preventing the plan of terrorists to disrupt the forthcoming panchayat elections in the state. The recoveries made from the terrorist included two assault rifles along with two magazines and 234 rounds of bullets, five pistols with 10 magazines and 60 rounds, 15 hand grenades and 12 fuses for Improvised Explosive Devices, Jammu-based Army PRO Devender Anand said.

“This huge cache has scuttled the nefarious plans of the terrorist outfits to derail peace and harmony in the region and disrupt the forthcoming panchayat elections in the state,” he said. Continue reading


The election of two women as Sarpanch in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district has raised eyebrows after reports that they were both residents of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The women – Dilshada Begum and Arifa Begam – are married to former terrorists who have returned from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir with their families as part of the government’s surrender and rehabilitation policy in 2010.

Though officials say that a probe has been initiated to ascertain their antecedents, they do not rule out that the allegations could be politically motivated. Dilshada Begum was elected unopposed from Mawar village and Arifa Begum from Khumeryal village. Officials say that both the women produced all the necessary documents before filing their nomination papers. Continue reading


At least three soldiers and an army porter have been killed and four security men injured in Pakistani troops sniper fire on the Line of Control (LoC) in border districts of Rajouri and Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir in last four days. Lance Naik Antony Sebastian was killed and Havaldar Mary Mathu injured in Pakistan army sniper fire at LoC in Sonawali Gali along Krishna Ghati (KG) sector in Poonch district on Monday.

Both the soldiers were hit while they were manning their posts on the LoC. Earlier, on November 11, 29 year old Naik Gosavi Keshav Somgir R/o Maharashtra was killed in sniper fire from Pakistan troops in Nowshera sector of Rajouri. Continue reading


The BJD government for the first time on Tuesday tried to pitch Odisha as a potential defence and aerospace manufacturing hub in the country.

On the second day of its flagship investment summit Make in Odisha, the Naveen Patnaik-led government shared its Defence and Aerospace Manufacturing Policy (2018), which offers fiscal incentives in the form of capital subsidies, power tariff reimbursement and training subsidies to manufacturing units. “This is arguably the best policy in the country”, said Industries Secretary Sanjeev Chopra, adding “it is a shame that for all the testing that happens in ITR (integrated test range) Baleswar, manufacturing happened elsewhere”. Continue reading


At the turn of the last decade of the 20th century, when the once-mighty Soviet Union had already broken into 15, there were only five countries with nuclear vessels out of 157 designated naval nations — China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States — with India nowhere in the reckoning.

With 25 nuclear-powered strategic missile submarines (and another six building/projected/converted/life extension programmed) and 83 nuclear-powered attack submarines, the US Navy stood at the top of the list, followed by the Royal Navy’s eight Vanguard and Resolution class nuclear strategic missile subs and three types (Trafalgar, Swiftsure and Valiant) of 13 nuclear attack subs, usually deployed between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Continue reading

SOURCE: Nikkei Inc

Pakistan has vowed to counter India’s successful launch of a nuclear-powered submarine, a move that has thrown off the delicate military balance between the nuclear-armed neighbors.Islamabad said New Delhi’s latest action will intensify an arms race that could draw China into the mix. Pakistan is hemmed in by a financial crisis that could force it to turn to Beijing for military assistance.

“No one should doubt Pakistan’s resolve and capabilities to meet the challenge posed by the latest developments,” said Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry. Faisal’s comment came three days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 5 said the Arihant, India’s first domestically built nuclear-powered submarine, had recently completed its first patrol.

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